iPhone Apps Tracking Consumer Locations- See Which Ones To Watch Out For

In a world of increasing digital exposure, recently several iPhone apps have been notified to be trading consumer’s location for cash. Rogue app developers have been taking a lot of heat recently for selling real-world data about where a customer has been, or where you currently are. Security researchers have found over two dozen apps that may be facilitating data to outsider firms, including ASKfm, which has 215 million registered users. These third party companies that are gaining data are paying creators for information to get information about your location, which raises major privacy concerns. Another identified app, Sudo Security Group’s Guardian App Team said that they have discovered an increasing number of iOS apps that are being used to covertly collect precise location data from tens of millions of mobile devices. They also noted that the packaged tracking code may be running at all times, constantly sending consumer GPS coordinates, or other information. Several popular apps, like ASKfm, have been caught up in this location tracking scandal. Some apps, like Google Maps, wouldn’t work right without tracking your location. However, security researchers have recently discovered that some app developers are using location to make a profit, after selling the information. The following apps have been identified as being involved in this:

  • ASKfm
  • C25K 5K Trainer
  • Classifieds 2.0 Marketplace
  • Code Scanner by ScanLife
  • Coupon Sherpa
  • GasBuddy
  • Homes.com
  • Mobiletag
  • Moco
  • My Aurora Forecast
  • MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar
  • NOAA Weather Radar
  • PayByPhone Parking
  • Perfect365
  • Photobucket
  • QuakeFeed Earthquake Alerts
  • Roadtrippers
  • ScoutLook Hunting
  • SnipSnap Coupon App
  • Tapatalk
  • The Coupons App
  • Tunity
  • Weather Live – Local Forecast
  • YouMail Voicemail Upgrade

When an app such as these wants to sell data, the easiest way for this to happen is through an automatic process. They simply take a chunk of computer code from “data monetization” firms, and then placing it in the app. Then, the app can take the data and flog it with minimal effort. According to the report, all of the identified apps were selling one or more of the following types of data:

  • Bluetooth LE Beacon Data – information about which real-world Bluetooth beacons you connect to
  • GPS Longitude and Latitude – giving a precise pinpoint of your location
  • Wi-Fi SSD and BSSID – showing your name and address of your current Wi-Fi network

The report also identifies that these apps and data collected may extend to data from the accelerometer on your phone, battery charge percentage, cellular network name, GPS altitude and speed, and time stamps of your departure and arrivals at many locations. All 24 apps in the report contained code from known location data monetization firms, which have been named as the following: 

  • AreaMetrics
  • Cuebiq
  • Factual
  • Fysical
  • Huq
  • InMarket
  • Mobiquity Networks
  • RevealMobile
  • SafeGraph
  • Sense 360
  • Teemo
  • Wireless Registry

It should also be noted that some of the apps named in the report may no longer feature the allegedly rogue data- sale code , but nevertheless, this scandal and the information that has been gathered has surely put consumers on edge.